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Life in a Cold Climate

Nancy Mitford; The Biography

Laura Thompson


List Price: 29.95*
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Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (5/1/2004)


New York Times bestselling author Laura Thompson turns her eye to the iconic and enigmatic Nancy Mitford.

Nancy Mitford was, in the words of her sister Lady Diana Mosley, “very complex.” Her highly autobiographical early work, the biographies and novels of her more mature French period, her journalism, and the vast body of letters to her family, to friends such as Evelyn Waugh, and to the great love of her life, Gaston Palewski, all tell an intriguing story.

Drawing from these, as well as conversations with Mitford’s two surviving sisters, acquaintances, and colleagues, prizewinning author Laura Thompson has fashioned a portrait of a contradictory and courageous woman. Approaching her subject with wit, perspicacity, and huge affection, Thompson makes her serious points lightly, eschewing clichés about the eccentricities of the Mitford clan. Life in a Cold Climate is full of the sound of Mitfordian laughter; but also tells the often paradoxical and complex story beneath the smiling and ever-elegant façade.

Praise For Life in a Cold Climate: Nancy Mitford; The Biography

A triumph. No other biography of Christie that I’ve read so powerfully summons up the atmosphere of
Christie’s own writing: that singular blend of menace and the mundane.

Thompson evocatively depicts English writer Nancy Mitford in this stylish account. This sparkling and probing biography will please Mitford’s many fans.

Thompson mines this trove for clues not only to the writer’s inner life but also to her fiction’s recurring
themes and enduring appeal. The woman who emerges in this elegant biography—shrewd, elusive,
practical, romantic—cannot be defined by the era she immortalized.

The combination of poetic prose and dedicated research makes this an accessible a delightful read.

A splendid biography. Thompson artfully demonstrates how Christie revealed in the Westmacott novels
her pain about her collapsed first marriage, her difficult relationship with Rosalind, and her overwhelming
love for her mother. Christie, in essence, was the Elena Ferrante of her day [and] Christie’s flame burns extra
bright in the present.

A tour-de-force, this thorough and eminently readable book will delight current Christie fans while also
engaging new ones. Ideal for all collections. Meticulously researched and painstakingly crafted. Christie is
revealed as an imaginative, hardworking woman who loved life but who also shunned publicity.

Pegasus Books, 9781643133034, 444pp.

Publication Date: December 3, 2019

About the Author

A writer and freelance journalist, Laura Thompson won the Somerset Maugham award for her first book, The Dogs, and is also the author of The Six: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters, was a New York Times bestseller and Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life,  also published by Pegasus. She lives in London.